flowering sage

flowering sage

Well, my week of vacation is slowly but surely coming to an end. I didn’t mean to also pretty much take a vacation from blogging, but I was so busy that it just sort of happened. Sunday through Wednesday Bookman was home with me and we worked hard in the garden. The weather was dry and partly cloudy to sunny, not humid and not too hot. We did work up a sweat though!

One of the first things we did was get some stakes and bird netting to try and protect Boo the blueberry from birds and squirrels. The berries aren’t ripe yet and probably won’t be for another month or so, but we didn’t want to wait. We will see if the netting keeps the critters at bay. Fingers crossed!

blueberry net cage

blueberry net cage

There was also lots of weeding to do, there always is it seems even when things are mulched. And I sent Bookman on lots of runs to the park to pick up buckets full of wood chips. Free wood chips are a gardener’s dream and we take advantage of the gift from the city. Well, I suppose my taxes pay for it and it is cheaper to let gardeners take the wood chips than it is for the city to create giant compost piles. The chips come from city tree trimming and they leave huge piles of them in various parks around town.

crumbling path

crumbling path

One of the things we are using the wood chips for is the latest big garden project. There is a concrete path running down the middle of the back yard that then curves around to the side of the house and the back door. Our yard slopes away from the house, which is good, but the concrete walk always turns into a small stream when it pours rain. This has always annoyed me, all that wasted water running out of the garden and into the alley behind the house. Plus, a deck was installed off the kitchen at the back of the house not long before we moved in and the path doesn’t go up to it. For years we’ve been stepping down into grass and then stepping over to the path. This has also annoyed me. The concrete of the path started crumbling a couple years ago and by the end of last summer it had become so pitted and ugly that I was determined to get rid of it. So, with crowbar and sledge hammer, Bookman lifted up a slab closest to the gate two weeks ago so we could see what was what.

We discovered that the crumbling path was poured on top of a previous crumbling path. Oy. To a point, this was ok, the plan

new path in progress

new path in progress

for the new path goes over the old path for a short distance. It’s not ideal, but Bookman, who is the muscle in this operation, did not relish the thought of removing two concrete paths. So this week we started at the back gate, breaking up the old path. The first slab Bookman lifted up those couple weeks ago turned out to be the easy one. All the others, it seems, are concreted together between the buried path and the one we are taking out. Poor Bookman has to take out both paths anyway since they are stuck together. We got from the gate to just before the clothesline pole.

bee balm

bee balm

While Bookman rested, I got to work with a spade cutting the edges of where the new path should go. It is a little wider than the old path and wider at the gate before narrowing a little into the garden. Then down went buckets of wood chips. And then, because we are awesome at recycling, we started breaking up the concrete from the path First we made stepping stone-sized pieces, turned them over to their smooth bottom sides, and wiggled them into the wood chips. Then, we broke up smaller pieces and started using them to edge the path. And then we were exhausted. But it is already looking nice, don’t you think? We will keep working away at it now on weekends through the summer.

catmint with Rex

catmint with Rex

Flowering this week is chamomile which got flattened by a torrential downpour that included hail before I could take a decent photo of it. The plant will be fine it just is sprawled out over the ground instead of upright. The peas in the veggie garden began blooming. Yay peas! The catmint is blooming too. Catmint not to be mistaken with catnip. Two different plants. In the photo you also get to see Rex, the garden gargoyle. Rex used to be the library gargoyle. He sat outside our basement library door enjoying a sheltered in-house existence for many years. Then we ripped out the dingy carpet and put in clean, cool ceramic tile. Rex was okay with that until he met with a wayward foot and tumbled over onto a wing which promptly shattered. We had thought to superglue the wing back on but it was in too many pieces. So Rex was set out in the garden instead beneath Clifford the big red dogwood in a lovely patch of catmint that grows up and hides the evidence of his missing appendage. He’s been out there for about five years now and seems to enjoy it.

Also flowering is a wood poppy I planted I last year on the mostly shady south side of the house in the area I hoped to

wood poppy

wood poppy

make a woodland garden. But almost everything died because I did not account for how hot it gets in this area. The wood poppy surprised me by coming back this year. A week ago I walked by it and saw these fuzzy white things on it. My first response was, eek! it has bugs! But I leaned down close and discovered the fuzzy white things were flower buds. The flowering sage is also looking lovely. It usually tumbles over at some point during the season but the rainstorm helped it along sooner rather than later. We have it staked up, otherwise it
goats beard

goats beard

wouldn’t look as tidy as it does. There is also bee balm and delicate harebells and a goats beard I have had for ten years that just keeps on going in spite of me pretty much neglecting it except to cut it back at the end of the season.

I ordered fall bulbs this past week, but this post is already getting too long so I will save that for next weekend. I finished three books while on my vacation and bought a couple new ones today. Lots of bookish stuff ahead this week!

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